micah mckelvey, editor, 3rd year b.s. architecture

I was running and out of breath.

Looking behind me, I expected to see something. Nothing was there except for a city street; bland in its globalised urbanity, busily occupied with the outcomes of capitalism, but completely devoid of people. It was as if I had been deposited into an already unfolding event or even one that had just concluded, woken up from a coma that my body did not share. The how, the why, and the where, I did not know. Suddenly I felt the need to stop. I looked down at gum smashed on the pavement by a million hurried shoes, evidence of a city bustle that currently did not exist.

That's when I noticed it. Powerful, cold, and imposing; a presence of terrible subtlety, like the sting after a backhand slap to the face. I slowly raised my head to peer at the mass before me. There were no shadows, the sky was overcast, but had there been, its shadow would have cast me in a dark blanket long ago. The facade was unapologetically brutal in its windowless concrete surface, tiered upward like a Japanese pagoda that extended infinitely toward the horizon in both directions. It was clear it didn't belong, strong but concurrently vague. And while pondering who could have built this imposing complex I thought I saw the faintest flicker. Then the realization struck me. Was I running away from some unknown thing, or being drawn to this unusual interruption in the city fabric?

Noticing two strangely typical doors just to my left, I proceeded to enter this fortress not knowing what to expect inside but having an alien desire to find out what existed beyond. I approached without inhibitions. Passing through the exterior barrier revealed a vast room obstructed by a labyrinth of planes; surfaces that made up walls and floors as if here gravity wasn't a force worth acknowledging. It was dark, but a mysterious glow from an unseen source provided sufficient light for seeing. As I passed further into the structure's depths I could not help but think the walls were rearranging themselves based on my position, somehow guiding me through the labyrinth. Yet it couldn't have been so; there was nothing mechanical about it. Instead the space seemed much more organic, as if the planes were grown there; stretching out like ivy, adopting and adapting to their surroundings. Here I suddenly looked behind me without provocation and found a wall blocking where I had just come from, cutting me off from the city outside. What is this place? Someone, or something was watching my every move. I felt it. The eyes of unknown origin evaluating and picking apart my actions caused me to proceed slowly, cautiously.

I then found myself in what seemed as the heart of the building. It was darker still, but I found myself in a room whose ceiling was beyond sight, concrete walls straining upward until they vanished in a dark abyss. It seemed the building was alive and I was exploring its arteries, infiltrating it not like a virus, but like a medicinal treatment. Somehow it needed me. As I thought this I felt something in turn infiltrate me, overtaking me, putting visions and strange knowledge in my head. The building was coming alive and presenting itself as a being, a creature both living and breathing. I began to panic and attempted to fight it off. As I snapped around in a rage, in the distance I saw a silhouette in the likeness of a man. Too far to properly perceive, but too close for comfort.

I ran.

Any direction that I could to get out of this place. To be back in the city and away from this thing that was drawing me in. I was a lab rat in a large experiment and I needed to get out. Before the walls seemed in a perpetual state of flux, almost transparent. Now they were cold and fixed and as solid as the concrete facade outside. Dashing through the labyrinth, I noticed an increasing amount of light. The way out must be close. I felt the building coming off me, with each passing plane I gained more and more control and was closer and closer to freedom. Finally, beautiful daylight. I kept running across the empty street, on to the littered sidewalk beyond. Returned to the vacant city I took a deep breath and felt a sense of relief.

I turned around to look again at the terrifying fortress, but nothing was there except the city, as one would expect.

From the Dean's Desk

Jim Dalton, FAIA

Welcome back for another year. I appreciate the opportunity the t r a c e team has extended to me in order to communicate both recent and anticipated improvements for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Each is with a commitment to improving the learning environment for our student body.

1) As we venture on moving the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) to Playhouse Square, we expect to strengthen all aspects of the CUDC’s missions: service, research, and education. The CUDC houses our graduate urban design program, half of our graduate architecture program, and our urban research and outreach activities. When complete, the facility will have one large seminar space seating up to 36 students, one classroom, a library, two exhibit spaces, open office space for up to 12 faculty and staff, student studios, and a work room. We are currently negotiating for model shop space. These improvements greatly enhance our ability to focus on strengthening ties to city officials and is an exciting endeavor to both our graduate programs and our commitment to the city of Cleveland.

2) The university has implemented a new budget model, Responsibility Centered Management. Each college is now responsible for generating and managing its own resources. I support this budget approach because it aligns responsibility with authority. Although we are only five months into this model, I believe students will experience the benefit of budget decisions made on their behalf.

3) Conducting a year-long study of student advising approaches, the university has concluded advising should be decentralized to each college. As a result, our advising staff has been reorganized and located in 202C Taylor Hall. Our advisors are Sandra Buckey, Benjamin Stenson, and Trinidy Jeter. I trust each of you will be proactive in using this office for your benefit.

4) The Morbito Library expansion is complete and I have observed increased student use of this facility. The additional shelf space, seating, computer access, and staff work area are welcome additions.

5) Professors Adil Sharag-Eldin and Pamela Evans have implemented a research facility in the Gym Annex. As we increase our building research initiatives, I anticipate a growing need for faculty/student research labs.

6) This summer the studios and library in Taylor Hall were abated of asbestos. This is the first step in upgrading Taylor’s studios. As funds become available, we intend to install new energy efficient lighting, remove and replace the flooring, and complete painting the studios.

The future of the college looks bright. Over the past 15 years our college undergraduate and graduate programs have grown in size and complexity. The college has more than 800 students located in Taylor Hall, The Gym Annex, Tri-Towers, Cleveland, and Florence, Italy. In a way, we are victims of our own success. It is my contention that one of the largest educational difficulties we face is the lack of contiguous student space. Significant learning often occurs through informal student encounters, discussions, and crits with one another. With each year separated from the rest, these impromptu encounters are greatly diminished. In other words, my biggest goal as Dean is to put together a strategy for a new college building.

For this to be successful, we will need the absolute commitment of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and administration to earn this very expensive honor through our actions. We must be viewed as deserving both within and outside the university. We need to take care of and improve the facilities we currently have. We need to win design competitions, increase our funded research output, and keep the extremely high record of success on the Architecture Registration Exams. We must also continue our history of recruiting the best academically prepared students in the university for each of our programs. If we are successful, we will all benefit.

My best to each of you for a very fruitful remainder of the semester.

Jim Dalton, FAIA
Dean, College of Architecture and Environmental Design


CAED News & Announcements

Call for Student Participation in College Committees
- The following CAED committees need student participants. Please contact Sarah Crombie (scrombie@kent.edu) in the Dean's office if you would like to participate. Note: the college has several committees with student participants, however, students for the committees are nominated by the faculty.

Graduate Committee (two graduate students)
College Curriculum Committee (one interior design and one architecture student)
International Studies Committee (two students who have participated in the program)
Library Committee (two CAED students)
Lecture Committee (two to four CAED students)
Student Recruitment Committee (up to six CAED students)

Request for photographs for new college poster - The AIAS is currently creating a new poster for the bulletin space opposite the elevator on the 2nd floor of Taylor Hall. The poster aims to mix current photographs with images from the past and should have representation from all the different years and majors (projects, studio, and other college related activities). Please send your pictures to Taylor Alston (talston@kent.edu).

ARCS Design Competition - The results are in for the Representation of Design I T-shirt design competition, judged by CAED faculty and ARCS peers:

Tie for 4th place - Rachael Gruic and Libby Haas
Tie for 3rd place - Brittany Lowe and Matthew Hickin
2nd Place - Ronald Garsteck
1st Place - Roberto Quiroz

Roberto's design will be on T-shirts for students in the ARCS program and will be seen worn around campus soon! Congratulations to all!